Sunday, October 07, 2007

*mmmph* *rrr* *yawn* ...chickens...

Yeah. I don't know why I woke up a full hour early, either.

Spent yesterday on the Complex and Terrifying Incisions Unit, where it's par for the course to take care of two patients who've had their jaws recreated with bits of bone from their legs or ribcage, another with something in the middle of her belly you could put your head into, and a fourth with a series of flaps that go from shoulder to cheek, from collarbone to chin, and from cheek to nose. Some of those are flesh bridges, with the donor end still attached.

Maybe that's why I dreamed of stapling chickens to people overnight.

It's amazing what we can do with a few sutures and some extra meat. Since good ol' what's-his-name in 4th century Byzantium (Google sez: Oribasius!), we've been fixing facial and bodily defects with varying degrees of success. To wit:

Let's say you want to get a nice, cheap gastric bypass surgery. Let's say you decide to go to a surgeon who does business in a converted storage warehouse (oh, Frog, I wish I were making this up). Let's say said surgeon mis-connects something that leaves you with a sizeable necrotic area in your tummy. And let's say this necrotic area eats its way to the outside of your body over a period of months. Got a huge hole in your midsection? We can fix you up with less of a scar than a Star-Bellied Sneech has after his star-removal.

Or, to take another for instance, there was the patient with valid identification, no criminal record, enough money, and a poor understanding of ballistics. Note to those who would play Russian Roulette: If you're going to try to shoot yourself in the head, be sure, if you place the gun below your chin, that you angle up and *back*, rather than just up. Also, use a nice big bullet. Otherwise, you'll just end up with a fibula reconstruction of your jaw, several flaps rotated from your shoulders to fix your cheek, something weird connecting from your right chest to where your upper lip used to be, and a brand-new nose.

Or the guy who tried to take care of his skin cancer himself. The surgeons took out one eye, the sinus behind and below it, the bone around the eye, and a few other bits for good measure, and grafted a big chunk of meat on from his thigh.

On my usual unit, I nurse people who've gotten the crappy end of the stick from Fate. On this unit, I nursed people who had temporary and disastrous or extended and inexplicable lapses in good judgement. Either way, it's interesting and awful in equal proportion.

And it ends with me desperately trying, in my dreams, to staple frozen chickens to a bunch of people in an old-fashioned hospital ward.

1 comment:

shrimplate said...

Thank You!

I was struggling to come up with a good idea for my Halloween costume this year, but now I know. All I need is staples and some chicken thighs. Bone-in and skin-on.

I'n scaring myself already.